10 min read

Sunset Flow To Boost Email Performance in 2024

Written by Andriy Boychuk
10 min read
Table of Contents

    Employing new tactics in your email marketing strategy is key to maintaining positive interaction with your email subscribers. But, what should you do if their interest fades and they stop being active?

    In this case, using sunset flow automation is a universally acknowledged practice to renew the activity of your client base. 

    I’ll share the best practices and examples of sunset flow emails to get your subscribers back on board. Continue reading to find out more about this automation, its impact on the success of your campaigns, and an easy way of setup. 

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    What is a Sunset Flow?

    An email sequence known as “Sunset Flow” is sent out when a subscriber is inactive. Being “inactive” here means that they don’t open your emails for many days or 90 days, depending on the set amount of time. This will trigger the automation and it’ll start sending sunset emails. The sunset sequence contains targeted emails and aims at getting your contacts back into the loop. This is the basic sunset flow meaning.

    When employing this automation, you should keep in mind that its goal isn’t to sell. Even though every business strives to improve its ROI, the sunset flow campaign has another objective. 

    So what is the primary objective of this dedicated automation sequence? The answer is in its other name which is re-engagement automation. Getting your contacts to open, click on links, or respond to your emails is the main goal. 

    There are numerous methods for doing it. Initially, you have the option to deliver it to inactive customers as a one-time campaign or monthly. However, setting up the automation is the most efficient method to go about it. It will start working without any required effort on your side. The main principle is “Set it and forget it!”. Moreover, almost all cutting-edge email service providers (ESPs) offer this function available for setup and optimization so it’s in your best interests not to miss the opportunity to use such an advanced technology. 

    I hope this explanation provides you with a comprehensive answer to the question “What is sunset flow?”.

    Sunset Flow Email Strategy for Better KPIs

    Now, let’s look into the impact that sunset flows can have on your email marketing KPIs. In the years of Flowium’s practice, we’ve experienced the real efficiency of this email strategy that brings total improvement to numerous rates, such as open rate, CTR, engagement rate, and more. 

    • Open Rates
      Since the sunset email campaign usually includes only 3 to 5 emails, you can raise the probability of inactive subscribers opening your messages. The strategy suggests that instead of throwing tens of emails in their inboxes with no results, it’s more effective to send fewer but more targeted emails. Open rates may rise as a result.
    • Click-Through Rates (CTR)
      Anticipate a rise in CTR with a more focused strategy that targets disengaged subscribers because the material will be more pertinent to the audience. There are also other efficient methods of improving CTR that we’ve shared in one of the previous articles, so I recommend reading it too.
    • Conversion
      Higher click-through can bring higher conversion rates from interacting with a more interested audience. Sending emails to people who want your goods or services increases the likelihood that they will complete the intended activity, like buying, signing up, downloading, etc. 
    • Retention and Engagement
      The Sunset Flow email strategy is a useful tool for keeping your contacts subscribed. In many cases, the overwhelming amount of emails can result in unsubscribes or lower engagement. Sunset flows enable you to remind clients about your offers in a more subtle way. You can keep your subscriber list active and healthy by delivering emails to the appropriate audience at the appropriate frequency.
    • List Health and Deliverability
      You can enhance the general health of your email list by routinely eliminating inactive or disengaged subscribers. It won’t harm your deliverability; if anything, it will improve it. Thus, your sender certification score won’t be lowered. Deliverability rates are higher for clean lists since email clients and ESPs know that the subscribers on them will be active recipients of your messages.
    • Return on Investment
      You’re more likely to receive a good return on your investment in the form of sales, leads, or others when you send emails to an audience that is more engaged and interested. It will also result in lower expenses. Many email service providers (ESPs) like Klaviyo and its alternatives, ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, or others, charge you for their services depending on the size of your list. Employing sunset automation will save you money because you cut off unengaged contacts.

    Sunset Flow Best Practices in 2024

    “What should I write in my sunset emails? How many emails do I need to send?”, – these are the questions you might raise now. Based on the experience of my own and many other professional email marketers, I compiled a list of sunset email flow best practices. Here’s what you should do to implement your re-engagement automation successfully. 

    Send no more than 5 emails

    I highly recommend that you send your disengaged subscribers 3 to 5 emails. No less, no more. Why? If you send one last email, your receivers may not get it, since there’s a good probability they didn’t see the previous one. By sending three messages, you increase the chances of subscribers opening them. Therefore, three emails are an optimal sunset strategy. You can also expand your re-engagement email sequence to five if you want to go above and beyond to make sure you tried your hardest. Another crucial point is that there should be a minimum of 3 to 7 days between emails so that recipients have time to respond to them.

    Send text-based emails

    Sending at least one basic text-based email that contains no more than one link is one of the best practices of sunset flow. It can be a single link that takes consumers to a specific deal, their preference page, or another location, but it is limited to text-based content. Another effective practice that I accentuate is to forward it under your name, either as the company’s founder, CEO, manager, etc. This will make the message more personalized and genuine.

    Offer clear incentives

    Emphasize on benefits in your sunset email. I would highly advise offering some kind of a large reward. For example, instead of a 10% discount, consider offering 20%–30% off. It might seem like a lot, but the investment will pay off. Remember, you stand to gain solely if they interact with your email and make a purchase. With this re-engagement sequence best practice, you’ll achieve the main goal, which is getting your subscribers back to being active and becoming buying clients.

    Provide updates

    Going over the same offers and information won’t make your clients engage if they haven’t done it yet. Instead, provide them with some sort of update. It can be launching new goods or a new collection, or that your business has added additional benefits to its existing offerings or products. Marketers generally use this method to boost email campaign performance, so it works for sunset flows as well.

    Add emotions

    Simple sentiments can help you establish or renew a personal connection with your clientele. Express your care and let them know they’re missed. Add phrases like: “We are sorry to see you go”, “We hope to have you stay with us.”, etc. 

    Update their preferences

    Some recipients of your emails may not choose to receive all of them. They may enjoy reading one of your emails, but not the others. Asking subscribers to update their preferences is a way to go about re-engagement and one of the sunset flow best practices.

    Add a hint of FOMO

    Fear of missing out or FOMO is a great instrument often used by marketers. The purpose of this email is to inform the recipient that their subscription will be terminated the next day or soon if they don’t respond. Add a strong call to action like: “Yes, keep me updated.” They must click if they wish to remain on the list. 

    Put easily accessible unsubscribe

    Another best practice for sunset flows is to keep an unsubscribe button easily accessible. You need to put it anyway, following the CAN-SPAM Act and the latest Gmail & Yahoo regulations. So, why not turn this requirement into an interesting design trick in your sunset email campaign? I advise putting this accessible unsubscribe button together with the “Keep me subscribed” button from the previous FOMO method. This way you give your receiver a choice to either remain on the list, which will be registered as an interaction by your ESP, or be removed, which will clean your list. 

    Sunset Flow Email Examples

    Now that you know what practices are the best, let’s look at some sunset email examples to see how businesses implement them in real life. Here are my top 8 emails that’ll show you how to design a great re-engagement email, and talk directly to their audience with specific calls to action with a specific copy. 


    Used practices: 3-email sunset sequence, use of emotional phrases, preference update

    All three emails here created for Balfour aim to re-engage inactive subscribers with the use of best practices. They have sentimental and caring phrases aimed to appeal to human emotions, evoke pleasant memories associated with your brand, and encourage interaction. The last email also allows subscribers to update their preferences, which is necessary for better sunset engagement. This is a great sunset email sequence example

    All Newborn Props

    Used practices: Text-based email, FOMO

    The email from All Newborn Props demonstrates an excellent combination of two aforementioned practices – sending text-based messages and using the fear of missing out. Among sunset flow examples, this is a great illustration of the fact that not all emails need a fancy design to serve their purpose. It simply delivers crucial information, has one link, and sets a time limit for the receiver to respond.

    Glow Recipe

    Applied practices: Considerable incentives

    The email by Glow Recipe is fairly basic, but it actually doesn’t have to be overly stylish or complicated. Its main goal is to deliver info about your special offer. In this sunset email example, they give disengaged clients a 15% discount to get them back to being active and buying products. What I also recommend is to add a sense of urgency here as you don’t want the discount to remain in effect indefinitely.


    Applied practice: Sentimental phrases and imagery

    To understand better what the “Add emotions” practice means, look at the fantastic brand work by Duolingo. As you can see, they use their famous owl to maintain branding but also utilize sad faces to evoke feelings in you. Here, the concept makes you feel that the owl is missing you as if saying “Hey, please stay with us.”. Many agree that this approach is much more effective than the overused “Open the app”. 

    Warby Parker

    Used practices: Send update

    An illustration of how Warby Parker says, “Hey, would you like to see our new collection?” is a good sunset flow email example that provides clients with a type of update on products. It’s a straightforward email, but you want to experiment with your image mail in your sunset flow by including other text-based offers, benefit highlights, and other things.

    Circle Furniture

    Applied best practices: Email preference update

    Among sunset email examples in this list, here is one from Circle Furniture that shows how to correctly include the important call to action, “Update Email Preferences.” They offer it to help subscribers reload their inboxes but also increase engagement with their brand.


    Used practices: Hint of FOMO, text-based

    As you can see in the example below, AWeber effectively employs the “Keep me on this list” tactic. They have one clear button to encourage action and a clear warning that receivers who don’t respond will be removed from the list. Nothing overcomplicated but at the same working.


    Used practices: Accessible unsubscribe button, clear incentives

    This sunset flow email example shows the design variant that I mentioned above, with two buttons next to each other. The question “What’s with the cold shoulder?” is actually meant to imply “Why are you inactive?”. The “I miss you too” button replaces “Keep me subscribed” here, while “I need space” represents the unsubscribe button. 

    How to Create Klaviyo Sunset Flow

    Now, let’s figure out what you need to do to create this re-engagement sequence in Klaviyo. I’ll provide you with a simple instruction so you can set it up even without any special knowledge. 

    What is a sunset flow in Klaviyo?

    Klaviyo is one of the best ESPs that capitalizes on email automation. The number of flows that the provider offers, including the Klaviyo sunset flow, helps improve KPIs. The Q422 Data from Klaviyo indicates that companies that invest and maximize Klaviyo flows can achieve remarkable outcomes, with an average of:

    • Open Rates of 52.49%
    • 5.83% Click-Through Rates
    • Conversion Rates of 1.82%
    • Revenue per Recipient: $1.91 

    You can easily set up sunset flow in Klaviyo to re-engage inactive users and increase email deliverability and open rates while also assisting in the upkeep of a clean email list.

    When and how to set up the sunset segment in Klaviyo

    Keeping some of your clients active on your account becomes unnecessary as their interest fades. These are profiles that show evidence of a protracted, continuous period of inactivity (no purchases, no website visits, no marketing engagement). You have to define your Klaviyo unengaged segment to start the sunset automation and adhere to the rules of list hygiene. This prolonged period of inactivity makes it very unlikely that these profiles will interact with your brand in the future.

    If a Klaviyo profile isn’t bringing in any money for your company, and you don’t think you can turn them back to the Klaviyo engaged segment, remove them so they don’t count against your Klaviyo billing plan. When you suppress these accounts, the sunset flow in Klaviyo serves as their last chance to interact with your brand.

    Define segments by the criteria you can see below, e.g. can/cannot receive marketing, profile properties, and actions of choice. You also have to set up the time frame for these profiles to be put in your Klaviyo unengaged segment (recommended 72 weeks).

    Instruction for sunset flow Klaviyo setup

    Here’s a simple way to set up the Klaviyo sunset flow after you deal with proper segmentation. Once your sunset segment is configured, you must create a flow that is activated when someone is added to your sunset segment. A pre-built sunset flow from the flows library is what Klaviyo’s support team advises utilizing.

    1. Go to the tab for Flows.
    2. To view the flows library, click Create Flow.
    3. Use the search bar to look for “sunset” to view Klaviyo’s built-in sunset sequence.
    4. The “sunset unengaged subscribers” flow is already constructed; click on it.
    5. Choose the segment you want to sunset from the trigger dropdown.
    6. On the modal, click Create Flow at the bottom.
    7. Make the message’s content unique to reflect your brand. You can use our examples as a source of your inspiration, or turn to Flowium to arrange the Klaviyo sunset flow for you. 
    8. Make a new suppression segment utilizing the tag you assign to inactive subscribers who complete your sunset flow and haven’t clicked or opened a message in a while.
    9. Monitor and clear the suppression segment regularly (at least twice or three times a year).
    10. Go to the Lists & segments page under the Audience tab in Klaviyo to suppress this segment. Click the action menu next to the segment you intend to suppress. Choose Suppress current members


    Overall, sunset email flow is an effective technique for reestablishing contact with dormant subscribers and revitalizing your email marketing campaigns. You can focus on engaging subscribers who are interested in your content, enhance deliverability, and keep your email list in good health by putting this method into practice. If you’re too busy to deal with it yourself, Flowium is always ready to handle any of your email marketing tasks. Contact us now to receive results as soon as possible.

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